Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Green v. Geico General Insurance Co.

Superior Court of Delaware

September 23, 2019

YVONNE GREEN, WILMINGTON PAIN & REHABILITATION CENTER, and REHABILITATION ASSOCIATES, P.A., on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          Submitted: September 13, 2019

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY'S APPLICATION FOR CERTIFICATION OF INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL OF THIS COURT'S OPINION GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION

          Eric M. Davis, Judge.

         This 23rd day of September, 2019, upon consideration of Defendant GEICO General Insurance Company's Application for Certification of Interlocutory Appeal of This Court's Opinion Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification (the "Motion") filed by Defendant GEICO General Insurance Company ("GEICO") on September 5, 2019; Plaintiffs' Response to Defendant GEICO General Insurance Company's Application for Certification of Interlocutory Appeal of This Court's Opinion Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification (the "Response") filed by Yvonne Green, Wilmington Pain & Rehabilitation Center and Rehabilitation Associates, P. A., on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated (collectively, the "Plaintiffs") on September 13, 2019; the Court's decision dated August 27, 2019 (the "Opinion"); Supreme Court Rule 42 ("Rule 42"); and this civil action's entire record, the Court GRANTS the Motion and enters this Order certifying an interlocutory appeal of the Opinion:

         BACKGROUND

         The Plaintiffs filed suit against GEICO. As alleged, GEICO uses two computerized models (collectively, the "Rules") to evaluate personal injury protection ("PIP") claims of its insureds. The Plaintiffs argue that GEICO uses the Rules to deny valid claims without evaluating the facts underlying the claims. The Plaintiffs seek certification of a class action under Superior Court Civil Rule 23.

         As part of the Civil Rule 23 process, the Plaintiffs filed their Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification (the "Class Motion"). After extensive briefing and a one-day hearing where the parties presented evidence and arguments on May 10, 2019, the Court issued the Opinion. The Opinion grants the relief sought in the Class Motion. GEICO noted an interlocutory appeal of the Opinion on September 6, 2019.

         Previously, on September 5, 2019, the Plaintiffs submitted a proposed implementing order (the "Proposed Order"). GEICO has opposed entry of the Proposed Order, arguing that the Proposed Order is merely a disguised motion to reconsider the Opinion. The Plaintiffs have countered and contended that, under Superior Court Civil Rule 23(d), the Court has broad authority to manage "the course of proceedings or prescribing measures to prevent undue repetition or complication in the presentation of evidence or argument" and "to deal [] with similar procedural matters. The orders.. .may be altered or amended as may be desirable from time to time.[1]

         Given that GEICO noted an appeal, the Court does not feel it is appropriate to address the Proposed Order. The Court is concerned with jurisdictional issues based on the appeal and Rule 42. The Court is apprehensive, though, that GEICO's appeal is premature given that the Court has not addressed issues like "claimant classes, " "class representatives" and "class counsel" (the "Open Issues")-all of which the Court anticipated dealing with subsequent to issuing the Opinion. As such, the Supreme Court may not have an entire record to review on appeal and any decision may warrant remand to address the Open Issues.

         APPLICABLE STANDARD

         Rule 42(b) dictates the standard for certifying an interlocutory appeal. "No interlocutory appeal will be certified by the trial court or accepted by this Court unless the order of the trial court decides a substantial issue of material importance that merits appellate review before a final judgment."[2] In deciding whether to certify an interlocutory appeal, the trial court must consider: (1) the eight factors listed in Rule 42(b)(iii);[3] (2) the most efficient and just schedule to resolve the case; and (3) whether and why the likely benefits of interlocutory review outweigh the probable costs, such that interlocutory review is in the interests of justice.[4] "If the balance [of these considerations] is uncertain, the trial court should refuse to certify the interlocutory appeal."[5]

         DISCUSSION

         The Court does not agree with many contentions in the Motion. GEICO continually attempts to "recharacterize" the pleadings in this civil action to fit a situation previously addressed by this Court and the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. The Plaintiffs, however, have crafted a complaint and asserted claims recognized as potentially valid by this Court and adopted by, among others, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The Court previously addressed those legal issues in GEICO's motion to dismiss (the "MTD") the Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint. The Court denied the MTD in an opinion issued on April 24, 2018 (the "MTD Opinion"). GEICO noted an interlocutory appeal of the MTD Opinion, however, the Supreme Court denied GEICO's request for an interlocutory appeal. Accordingly, the Court does not believe that Rule 42(b)(iii)(A)-(F) criterion apply.

         Instead, the Court is granting the Motion and entering this Order certifying an interlocutory appeal because the Opinion: (i) "decides a substantial issue of material importance that merits appellate review before a final judgment;"[6] and (ii) implicates Rule 42(b)(iii) (G) and (H).

         Substantial Issue

         The "substantial issue of material importance" prong of Rule 42 requires that the matter decided goes to the merits of the case.[7] The focus, here, is not on the merits of legal arguments, but rather on whether the trial court's decision determined a substantial issue. This case involves the application of 21 Del. C. ยง 2118 to GEICO's Rules through a Civil Rule 23 class action. The Opinion is not addressing a minor issue like a discovery dispute, but rather the viability of class ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.